However, when accidents happen practical day to day activities can become obstacles which need to be overcome.
One injury which will impact on most aspects of daily life is a knee injury. The fact that it is such an important joint is a reason knee injuries are so common. If you trip, slip or fall, it is likely you will land on your knee first which will take the full force of the impact, often leading to a significant injury. The knee is made up of bones, cartilage, muscles, ligaments and tendons. Due to its complex structure, there are often long term issues which may significantly impact mobility for many years and result in permanent damage.
What can you claim for?
Given the possibility of long term issues, it is crucial to consider all potential losses when pursuing a personal injury claim. Once a claim has been resolved and damages have been paid, either following pre-litigation negotiation or as a result of a court action, it will not be possible to make another claim in the future.
The first head of claim to consider is solatium, which attempts to value the pain and suffering experienced as a result of the accident. However, in addition to taking into account the pain and suffering up until the present, future pain and suffering also needs to be considered and accounted for. Medical experts may be of the opinion that you will suffer from decreased mobility, have an increased risk of suffering from osteoarthritis or require to undergo surgery in the future and so a value needs to be placed on these risks. Another significant head of claim will likely be past loss of earnings, due to time off work as a result of the injury. However, in addition to past losses, it is imperative to consider any future loss of earnings, loss of pension or loss of employability which may come into play if your job is not secure. It may be that the nature of the injury will require you to retire early, particularly if you have a physical job, as opposed to a desk based role.
Other heads of claim include services, which accounts for assistance provided by family members, medical treatment costs and any miscellaneous expenses which may have been incurred or will require to be incurred in the future, including walking aids, stair lifts or even alternative accommodation.
Who is the Claim Against?
Who is liable to pay compensation will depend upon the circumstances of the accident and whose negligent actions have resulted in your accident occurring. In the event the accident occurred in your workplace, your employer may be liable. Alternatively, you may have slipped or tripped whilst in a supermarket or crossing a road, in which case the company who owns the shop or the Council may be liable. It is common for knee injuries to be caused as a result of road traffic accidents, in which case the driver of the vehicle who caused the accident will be liable. Medical negligence can also result in a knee injury due to a surgical error, delayed treatment or misdiagnosis. Morton Fraser's Personal Injury Team has extensive experience in pursuing all types of claims and we can provide you with advice on who is liable to pay compensation once we have discussed the facts and circumstances of your claim.
How much is your claim worth?
Whilst there are potentially a number of heads of claim you are entitled to, as explained above, a significant head of claim will be for solatium, which is your pain and suffering. Morton Fraser has a Compensation Calculator which provides you with an indication of the value of your injury, depending upon its severity. The values in the Calculator are based upon the Guidelines prepared by the Judicial Studies Board which take account of recent court decisions. These Guidelines are a vital reference point for lawyers and the Judiciary when considering the appropriate level of compensation. The recommended awards for knee injuries are set out below.
- Twists, sprains or bruises, where a complete recovery has been made over a short period will likely result in compensation up to a maximum of £5,160.
- Lacerations, twists or bruising with continuing or permanent symptoms are valued between £5,160 up to £11,730.
- Dislocation or torn cartilage resulting in minor future disability, or injuries which result in an acceleration of symptoms from a pre-existing condition will be valued between £12,650 to £22,340.
- Serious injuries such as fractures, torn meniscus or ligament damage resulting in permanent, limited movement and an increased risk of osteoarthritis will be valued between £22,340 and £59,490.
- The most severe bracket is between £59,490 to £82,080, which is reserved for injuries which have resulted in joint disruption, osteoarthritis and ligament damage requiring lengthy treatment and severely restricted mobility.
Whilst each case is considered on its own facts and circumstances, the Compensation Calculator is a helpful starting point when considering whether you wish to pursue a personal injury claim. Ultimately, you may have no choice in the matter due to the impact of the injury on your life, and the lives of your family. The resulting financial loss is often the deciding factor and necessitates that action be taken.